[b-hebrew] k'ehad mimenou

Yigal Levin Yigal.Levin at biu.ac.il
Fri Nov 4 07:44:09 EDT 2011

Hi Uzi,

Look at Rashi. He give two ways of understanding verse 3. The first, is that he is indeed addressing the messengers as "My lords", and then continues to address the leader, asking him not to leave. He then continues to address all three in the plural. 

The second option, is that "Adonai is sacred" - in other words, in verse 3 Abraham is addressing God directly, asking him to make the "men" tarry. From a very quick look, at least some translations agree. The KLV, for example, translates "Adonai" as "Lord". Von Rad suggested that the original was "adoni" in the singular, since Abraham is not yet supposed to know that these were angels, and that the Masorets made it "Adonai". So: shiv'im panim latorah.

Shabbat Shalom,

Yigal Levin

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Uzi Silber
Sent: Friday, November 04, 2011 12:52 PM
To: K Randolph
Cc: b-hebrew
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] k'ehad mimenou

My 8 year old son is studying Breisheet (Genesis) 18 in school, the
story of Abraham and the three visitors. In it Abraham addresses them
as 'adonay' (plural of adonee -- 'gentlemen' essentially). but then he
suddenly changes to singular, as if he's addressing a single person.
He then reverts back to plural.

Now Im suspect that the devout would say that this means he realized
that the malakhim were angels and that they were essentially god's
reps, and thats why he addresses them in singular.

But how would nondevout biblical scholars explain this
plural-singular-plural switch? scribal mistake?

Uzi Silber

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list